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Set Up Google's Postmaster Tools

If you send a large volume of emails to Gmail users, you can use Postmaster Tools to see:

  • If users are marking your emails as spam
  • Whether you’re following Gmail's best practices
  • Why your emails might not be delivered
  • If your emails are being sent securely


Customers are able to leverage Google's postmaster tools by setting up a TXT record for their From Address domain.

Does not require a dedicated IP and does not require Marketo to set up DNS for the customer.

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Recently, I've had a number of cases caused by customers getting themselves tangled up in Smart List filter logic, so I thought I would do a blog post on how AND/OR logic works in Marketo.


It's not surprising that people would be confused, because "and" and "or" are used differently in English than they are in filter logic.  For instance, if I say "Don't go to the liquor store or the casino," I mean that I don't want you to go to the liquor and I don't want you to go to the casino.  I want you to stay away from both of them or you will be in trouble.  However, if I say that to Marketo, the OR logic works like this


IF Not Went to Liquor Store = True (whether or not you went to the casino), THEN Not in trouble

- OR -

IF Not Went to Casino = True (whether or not you went to the liquor store), THEN Not in trouble


AND logic works differently in English as well.  If I say "People who do yoga and people who lift weights are physically fit," I mean that people who do either activity are physically fit.  However, Smart List logic interprets AND this way


IF Does Yoga = True AND Lifts Weights = True, THEN Physically Fit.


With the AND logic, only people who do both yoga and weight-lifting are physically fit.


So, counter-intuitive as it may sound, in Smart List logic, we use AND to exclude people, and we use OR to include people.  To illustrate this, let's pretend I want to start a club.  The traits I want in my club members are


  • Red hair
  • Green eyes
  • Female


If I use AND logic (also known as ALL logic), then the only people who can join my club are people who are women AND have red hair AND green eyes.


Since there aren't that many red-haired, green-eyed women, my club is pretty exclusive.


But let's say that I want more people in my club, so I change my logic from AND/ALL to OR/ANY.  Now my membership includes


  • All women regardless of hair or eye color
  • All green-eyed men, regardless of hair color
  • All red-haired men, regardless of eye color


With ANY/OR logic, my club has a lot more people in it. 




Maybe that's too many people.  AND/ALL logic gave me too few people, OR/ANY logic gave me too many.  Advanced logic gives me the ability come down somewhere in between.  In this case, let's make the club ladies only.  Since I want to exclude the guys (sorry guys!) I am going to use AND logic with the gender requirement, but since I want flexibility on hair and eye color, I will use OR logic there.


My filters would be


#1 - Gender is Female

#2 - Hair Color is Red

#3 - Eye Color is Green


and my advanced logic would be: 1 AND (2 OR 3).  My resulting club members are all women who have either red hair or green eyes, or both.


I use OR to include women based on hair and eye color, but I use AND logic to exclude people whose gender is not female.


So if you are working on a Smart List and it seems to be pulling in too many leads, check the OR logic you are using.  If you don't have enough leads, check the AND logic, and adjust accordingly.

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If you are experiencing email delivery issues to AOL, chances are you need to improve your sending reputation. The best way to ensure you have a good reputation is to send timely and relevant email to an active and engaged audience. The following are some suggested best practices for sending mail to AOL. While each of these best practices should help improve your sender reputation, they do not guarantee whitelisting or email delivery.


  • Ensure that you are only sending mail to users who specifically requested it. It is not advisable to purchase mailing lists or subscribe users by having an opt-in checkbox automatically checked on your website.
  • It is preferable to have a double/confirmed opt-in process. When users subscribe to your mailing list, send them an email asking them to click to confirm their opt-in. This will reduce the number of people who sign up from fake email addresses.
  • When users subscribe for your mailing list, tell them what mail to expect, how often to expect it, and what it will look like. Set recipient expectations clearly.

Authenticate with Domain Keys Identified Mail (DKIM). This will provide you with a consistent reputation across your domain, regardless of what IPs you send mail from.  Work with Marketo Support to set this Authentication up.

Address Book

Send your email from a consistent email address and advise your users to add that address to their address books. Mail sent to users with your address in their address book will be delivered to the inbox with images and links enabled.

Database Management

AOL is sensitive to engagement by your recipients.  Are you reviewing and removing address in your database that have not engaged with your email in 6 months to year? If not you may want to leverage the following Smart List example to review and then remove your inactive recipients.


Identifying Chronic Non-Responders/Unengaged

Identify chronic non-responders or those unengaged with your email marketing to:

  • Target for a re-engagement program
  • Changes status to Marketing Suspended to remove them from active campaigns



Easy Unsubscribe
  • Provide an obvious and visible unsubscribe process in your mail.  Add this to the top of your email as well as in the footer.
  • Make it easy for users to unsubscribe from your mailing list.
  • Ensure the unsubscribe process is easy to use, such as a one-click unsubscribe web page.
  • Users should not have to log into a website in order to unsubscribe.
  • Process unsubscribes immediately.
Invalid Recipients

A high number of invalid recipients will harm your reputation. You can reduce the number of invalid recipients on your list by using double/confirmed opt-in. You will always have some invalids due to people changing email addresses, but the lower the number, the better your reputation. Marketo removes invalid recipients from your list immediately after the first bounce.


Brand your mail so that recipients can quickly identify it and won't mistake it as spam. Make sure the from address of your mail clearly identifies who it is from. Also, include your brand in the subject line. Even if users want your mail, they may not recognize it right away. Subject lines like "Your daily newsletter from 'Company'" or "Your monthly 'product' update" help the user identify mail they want. Even if you have a confirmed opt-in list, users may not recognize mail as being from you with a subject line like "Buy two, get the 3rd one FREE!!!" and may report it as spam.

For more sender best practices, read the Messaging Anti-Abuse Working Group's Senders Best Communications Practices Version 3.0 (Adobe Acrobat/PDF).

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Wikipedia defines SPF as follows:


Sender Policy Framework (SPF) is a simple email-validation system designed to detect email spoofing by providing a mechanism to allow receiving mail exchangers to check that incoming mail from a domain comes from a host authorized by that domain's administrators.[1] The list of authorized sending hosts for a domain is published in the Domain Name System (DNS) records for that domain in the form of a specially formatted TXT record. Email spam and phishing often use forged "from" addresses, so publishing and checking SPF records can be considered anti-spam techniques.


Again, this is a very nice technical explanation but what does it mean?  I think of it as being something like the security that many companies maintain at their front desk, so the scenario would go something like this.


A delivery person dressed in a Marketo uniform walks up to the front desk of your lead's company (email server), and says to the person at the desk (who in our analogy would be the email security software), "Hi, I'm here to deliver email from to"


The front desk/email security person looks up and notices the uniform says Marketo, not Yourcompany.  Depending on their security settings, they might just assume this is okay and buzz Marketo in to make the delivery.  However, if they are security-conscious, they are going to want proof that Marketo isn't trying to trick them with a phony delivery (spoofing an email).  SPF gives them the ability to call back to the DNS at Yourcompany and ask, "Hey, I've got someone here from Marketo who claims to be making a delivery for you.  Is this an authorized delivery?"


If Marketo is correctly included in the SPF record, then effectively, this allows the DNS to tell them, "Yes, Marketo is authorized to make deliveries from us."


So how does this differ from DKIM?  According to Wikipedia:


DKIM allows the receiver to check that an email claimed to come from a specific domain was indeed authorized by the owner of that domain which is done using cryptographic authentication.


Verification is carried out using the signer's public key published in the DNS. A valid signature guarantees that some parts of the email (possibly including attachments) have not been modified since the signature was affixed.


So if we go back to our analogy of the delivery at the front desk, it works a bit like this.  When the front desk calls the DNS to make sure the delivery is authorized, Marketo has to produce an ID badge with an authorization code on it.  The front desk/email security person reads that authorization code to the DNS which validates it against the code it has on record.  If the code matches, then the delivery is authorized.


Some email security programs require SPF, some require DKIM, and some don't require anything at all.  To be sure Marketo can always make your deliveries, you should always have both set up for each domain you use in the From: line of your emails.


Instructions for setting up SPF and DKIM can be found here.


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There seems to be a lot of confusion about what these are and what they do, so I thought I would do a little post on it to try and clear it up.  Let's look at CNAMEs first.


CNAME is short for "canonical name" and if you look it up on Wikipedia, they define it like this:


A Canonical Name record (abbreviated as CNAME record) is a type of resource record in the Domain Name System (DNS) used to specify that a domain name is an alias for another domain, the "canonical" domain.


OK, great, but what does that mean?  Here's how I picture it in my imagination.


Imagine that the internet is some sort of vast, mind-boggling library, and the DNS is a kind of reference desk for a given section defined by a domain, such as your company's domain.  So a browser walks up to the reference desk/DNS at and says, "Could you help me?  I'm looking for this resource - it says it's located in '' but I don't see a 'pages' shelf in this section." 


The DNS/reference librarian looks up '' in their directory, sees the CNAME record, and points across the way to a reference desk over in the Marketo section.  "Ah, yes," says the librarian, "go ask over in the Marketo section and they should be able to help you find the resource you are looking for."


This is true of both the landing page CNAME and the email tracking link CNAME.  The main difference between the two is that when you go over to the Marketo desk for the email tracking link, it makes a note in its log that you clicked a link in an email before it takes you to the page.


So how does setting up CNAMEs contribute to deliverability?  It has to do with unifying the information you are presenting to your customer.  If your email says "" in the From line, but all the links inside the email point to "", and those links take them to webpages on "", that doesn't look quite right.  An email security program that is on guard against spoofing might decide that email looks too sketchy to send to the inbox.  Also, the person receiving the email might have a similar reaction - "Why does the From line have a different domain than the links in the email?  Is this legit?" - and they could junk it or even report it just to be sure.  But with CNAMEs, your email has "" in the From line, the email links all say "" and the landing pages are all on "", so your company's identity is retained throughout the communication.


A common mistake I see is that people try to set up SPF and DKIM for their CNAMEs - don't do this.  SPF and DKIM should not be set up for your CNAME domains, they should be set up for any domain you intend to use after the '@' in your From and Reply-To addresses.  I'll go over SPF and DKIM and what they do in my next post.

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